Queer Immaterial Labor in Beauty Videos by LGBTQ-Identified YouTubers

Ellie Homant, Katherine Sender


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender beauty vloggers on YouTube exist at the margins of a historically gender- and sexually normative, white-dominated beauty industry. Through an analysis of six queer beauty vloggers, four of whom are also people of color, we argue that this group leverages the affordances of the media peripheries, here online platforms, and capitalizes queer cultural repertoires, such as camp, coming-out narratives, and reading to assert their expertise and authenticity. We propose a specification of Lazzarato’s term with “queer immaterial labor” that (1) recognizes that immaterial labor is not performed in the same way by participants in online spaces but is intersectionally structured through sexuality, race, and gender; and (2) acknowledges the cultural practices that queer people, including queer people of color, have honed over long histories of marginalization and community formation.


LGBTQ, media, queer, YouTube, beauty, vlog, immaterial labor, emotional labor, visibility, authenticity, intimacy, surplus

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